Toy maker Mattel has brought the classic View-Master into the 21st century. Earlier this year the company announced plans to launch a Google Cardboard-compatible virtual reality headset that lets you drop a smartphone into a case, hold it up to your eyes, and explore virtual environments.

Now it’s available for purchase for $30. And while you could buy or build your own Cardboard headset for less money, early reviews of the View-Master Virtual Reality Starter Pack are pretty positive.

The classic View-Master was designed to let you insert a wheel with a series of tiny photos that would look big when you held the device up to your eyes. You could then advance through the series to view more content.

The updated version is a bit more high-tech, and allows you to immerse yourself in virtual worlds. Move your head and you can see a different part of the action. Any app for Google Cardboard should work with the View-Master, but Mattel also has its own Android and iOS apps with some free preview content and support for a series of “experience packs” which are sold separately for $15 each.

You can unlock a space exploration, virtual safari, or travel destinations experience pack through an in-app purchase or by purchasing a physical experience reel that will unlock the content. The reels also support augmented reality: when your phone’s camera is pointed a real, you’ll see previews (like a space shuttle) above the disc.

Even if you’re not interested in Mattel’s experience packs, the View-Master VR kit seems like an interesting value proposition because it’s sturdier than an actual Cardboard device made of, well, cardboard. And it’s got some retro cool cred.

A wide range of smartphones are listed as compatible, including iPhone 5, 6, and 6 Plus models, Samsung Galaxy S4, S5, S6, and Note 4, HTC One, Google Nexus 6, Motorola Moto X (2014), and LG G3 and G4 models.

via xda-developers

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7 replies on “View-Master VR headset now available for $30 (compatible with Google Cardboard)”

  1. compatible with iPod 5? the only other device I have is an iPad and that wouldn’t fit so…
    plz reply

  2. That’s a small range of compatible phones… You can’t use it with any of Sony’s Z series phones?
    Like, especially the 4K one?

    All that Samsung, LG, Moto and Nexus garbage has no Micro SD card slots, so the only phones they support that are worth a damn are HTC…

    Really Mattel?

    Or is the list just incomplete?

    1. Software-wise, anything with Android Jelly Bean or newer should be able to run the Google Cardboard app. The main limitation is the dimensions of the phone-holder, which apparently is pretty flexible if it can go from the iphone 5 to the note 4

    2. Think about it in terms of the size of the phone. While they didn’t list every current gen phone, it’s very likely that if your phone is close to the dimensions of one or more of the listed phones, you won’t have any problems. Also, what’s up with bashing LG? My LG 4 has both a removable battery and a micro SD card slot.

  3. Was hoping it had a strap but the nostalgia is definitely enough for me to put my money down.

    1. I guess duct tape will have to suffice to attach a strap until someone in Hong Kong makes an aftermarket strap for it.

      I can already see my daughter smacking into walls walking around with that thing on her head :p

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